The Case for Johnny Football

johnnymanziel 560x390Much has been made of Texas A&M superstar QB, Johnny Manziel over the last couple of seasons. Until this past offseason, most of it was extremely positive. Once the 2013 offseason began, rumors began to circulate about his character and how committed he was to being an upstanding citizen demi-god for the fans and critics alike. Things like this began to appear on the internet :

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Nothing wrong here.

USA Today put together a timeline of his troubles for all of this year. ┬áHere’s a partial listing, and you can visit the article directly to read them all.

  • January – visited the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma following A&M’s bowl victory. Published a photo that instantly got criticism from morally upright people who bet on college bowl games.
  • March – shoved a graduate assistant in frustration after throwing an interception during a Spring scrimmage. Seriously? A football player got aggressive with an assistant coach? I bet that’s NEVER happened until it happened at A&M.
  • April –┬áDuring a visit back home in Kerrville, attended a charity event and was photographed in a car with a marijuana cigarette, later revealed to be a photoshopped image. We imagine the NCAA will penalize him for being in a picture when he should have known Photoshop existed.
  • July – The famous Manning Passing Academy scandal that rocked the world, because there is nothing sportsworthy going on in July and sports “journalists” need to earn that paycheck somehow. Just like TMZ’s reporters, actually.
  • August – Signed merchandise for sports memorabilia dealers, was accused of taking payment for it, then suspended for half a game by the NCAA when they couldn’t prove anything. Just like Roscoe P. Coltrane and Boss Hogg used to do the Duke Boys. “We can’t prove nuthin’ but we’s a gonna punish you anyhow!”

This is all ridiculousness if you ask any sane person who hasn’t already convicted the kid because “Dez Bryant, Reggie Bush, Ohio State, blah blah blah”. NCAA rulings and penalties shouldn’t be forced on players simply because other players or programs got in trouble for something similar or lesser in the past. It’s the burden of proof that matters, isn’t it?

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This one is a bit tougher to explain.

No matter who you root for on gameday, this kid hasn’t been proven to have done anything wrong. A year ago, everyone was fawning all over him in the media. He was the star of the moment, but then he made a fatal mistake. He accepted the attention that was being heaped upon him and didn’t act like the second coming of Jesus.

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Also, he tried to spend a week with this family and not become assimilated into the cult.

So now, everything he does is met with scrutiny from media outlets, bloggers and even out of state used car dealerships.

Jeeeezus. But really, why does everyone want to tear this kid down when he’s on the cusp of realizing his dreams? Arguments are made by blogs such as The Collegian, proclaiming Johnny Manziel Should Be Suspended. They make a compelling argument, of course, without any bias whatsoever. Here’s a choice quote, if you will:

Then during the NCAA Tournament, he tweeted out a supportive tweet to Marshall Henderson, who was later suspended for drug violations and has a long history with drug abuse.

How dare he send a TWEET to a person who was suspended for drug violations? Isn’t that explicitly against United States law, God’s law and, perhaps most importantly, the King James version of the NCAA rule book? Chapter 12, sub-paragraph 84, section 12, row D?

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College kids drink?!? Shocking!

If the NCAA can’t PROVE a violation, how can they mete out punishment? That’s what this argument is all about. How many of us would stand up to such scrutiny ourselves in our daily lives, or at our places of employment? And how can we expect a 20-year-old athlete in the national spotlight to do it any better?